What two techniques were popular in researching the question of what friendship is?
When looking at the influences of culture in understanding what friendship is, Gonzalez et al. also used the method developed by Bigelow and La Gaipa. Focusing their question on comparing collectivist and individualistic societies to those in Cuba and Canada. Again essays were written by adolescents in both countries but they were then grouped into categories based on culture characteristics that shared different sets of values. The results showed similarities and differences between the two groups’ idea of what a best friend is to them but did not allow for one style group to be more favorable than the other. The choice of method again shows how limited and narrow the quantification of the personal accounts are over incorporating all information that is distinct to each issue. Both these studies show the value of qualitative techniques as it forms the basis for gathering information for quantitative data.
In 1977 further studies by William Damon showed another technique of gathering qualitative data. Using interviews to conduct his research, Damon was able to have more open-ended conversations that were focused at an individual level. Having a set of flexible questions Damon was able to provide a more textured and holistic view without creating any generalizations to developmental age, capturing the richness of the nature of peer development. Although his approach was different to those like Bigelow and La Gaipa he was still able to identify similar ideas of the children’s view on a best friend while allowing the variation of peer group and friendship to be visualized.